Patient Engagement Day 2021: the highlights!

On Wednesday 1st September 2021, we launched the first-ever annual Patient Engagement Day – and what a day it was! Olivia Kersey, Patient Strategist, takes a look at some of the highlights.

Starting as a spontaneous brainwave from Emma Sutcliffe, our SVP, Patient Insights and Solutions, Patient Engagement Day 2021 involved a webinar with top industry thought leaders, video collaboration with three of our Patient Partners, a Twitter campaign, case study sharing, and the development of a toolkit to help other organisations to get involved. And that was just for the launch!

The Webinar: “Amplifying the Patient Voice in Healthcare”

The star feature of the day was our webinar, which was centred around our theme of amplifying the patient voice. Chaired by our very own Emma Sutcliffe, the event was an outstanding success. Patient engagement professionals from 32 different pharma companies signed up to attend, not to mention the patients, medcomms professionals and others also keen to hear what our host and guests had to say. It was fascinating to hear Emma and guests Laura McKeaveney (previously Global Head of Patient Advocacy at Novartis) and Shona Davies (healthcare strategy and operations executive, and previously Head of Univadis at MSD) exchange their ideas, which were notably free of cliché and tokenism. One attendee even described the discussion as “refreshingly unfluffy – not surprising given the quality of minds in the room!”

A particularly sharp point outlined by Shona was the need for industry to be mindful of addressing patient needs in an appropriate manner. Shona explained that when patients’ pain points are identified, pharmaceutical companies must ensure the proposed solutions actually solve the issues raised, rather than purely meeting a business need relating to the issues. Shona also highlighted the importance of not only recognising and listening to expert patients, but also making sure other patients (such as the newly diagnosed) are also heard by industry and supported with understanding their disease progression.

An especially incisive point from Laura was that a key factor in making progress with patient engagement is the parking of egos; at present, there is excessive emphasis on creating materials that are unique to a given company, and this is not necessarily the best way of addressing patient needs. Emma agreed, noting it would be exciting if companies could focus on patient activation and use the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) as a benchmark, rather than all trying to do something different. Laura also commented that doing patient engagement in the right way cannot be solely about compliance; being ethical is key – compliance is a tick-box exercise, and not synonymous with ethical practice. This comment was also supported by Trishna, one of our Patient Partners watching the webinar.

The webinar discussion and our Patient Partner Videos intersected at a key learning point for industry; the fact that patient engagement is currently at the individual projects level, rather than sustained working relationships across entire journeys. At Prime Patient, we are keen to address this through our ongoing and future partnerships with both individual patients and patient groups.

Check out the full recording here


The Patient Partner Videos and Toolkit

As the theme of the day was #AmplifyThePatientVoice, we were especially keen to work with our Patient Partners to share their perspectives on patient engagement. Thanks to Lynn Wilks (of Alopecia UK), Trishna Bharadia (multi award-winning Patient Leader), and Carole Scrafton (of FibroFlutters), we had the opportunity to hear personal, insightful patient perspectives on how pharmaceutical companies can best engage with patients. Carole highlighted the value of cohesive, multidisciplinary approaches to engagement, Lynn described the importance of patient education, and Trishna explained what needs to be done to facilitate true co-creation and partnership, as opposed to “ticking the box” for patient engagement.

The videos weren’t all we released that day – our toolkit was also let out of its box! Thanks to the Prime Global Studio team, we were able to develop a series of beautiful visual assets organisations could use to show their support for Patient Engagement Day. This was available for the 175 people who signed up to receive the toolkit, and Twitter was all the more colourful for it!

All in all, we were delighted to see the final Twitter campaign of patient videos, toolkit, case studies, and a series of tweets highlighting the value of patient engagement and amplifying the patient voice amass over 10,000 views – not bad for the first Patient Engagement day ever!


Reflections and Aspirations

To round off the day, we asked Amy, one of our strategists, to share her thoughts on the biggest day in the Prime Patient calendar to date.

Q) What was your highlight of the day?

Amy: Seeing patients, patient groups and pharma’s enthusiasm and interaction during the webinar. It was an exciting discussion from truly inspiring patient engagement leaders!

Q) What surprised you?

Amy: One pharma company actually created their own images and quotes to use on the day! It was brilliant to see their commitment and have them join in and share with everyone.

Q) What are you hoping for next year?

Amy: Next year, I can’t wait for us to celebrate more case studies and innovation from the work we all do with patients and industry every day. Hearing from patients, patient groups, industry and colleagues on the day showed just how much both this day and continued strategic work are needed.

Contact the Prime Patient team on

Read more about our work in Patient Engagement here 

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Prime GlobalPatient Engagement Day 2021: the highlights!
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